Expert Sessions: Dogtown Co-Founder Rob Pope on IoT Security

June 16, 2017 - 3 minutes read

Last month, Dogtown Media’s co-founder and CTO Rob Pope live-hacked his “botnet in a box” in the middle of the Santa Clara Convention Center. It was the climax of his Internet of Things World talk entitled “Internet of Scary Things: My Toaster Is (Not) Spying on Me.” Rob’s grounded analysis gave the IoT app developers in the audience a lot to chew on about the Mirai botnet attacks, the future of IoT security, and practical fixes that can eliminate most hacking threats. We thought it was a shame that anybody who missed IoT World didn’t get the opportunity to see such an excellent presentation. So we asked Rob to share his thoughts on IoT security issues once again in our offices last night and livestreamed it for all the world to see as part of our Expert Sessions series.

Internet of things app developers no doubt remember the massive internet outage caused by an army of zombie IoT devices infected by Mirai malware last October. Rob uses the Mirai botnet attack as the launch pad for his analysis. In the aftermath of the attack, a spate of fear-mongering news reports steered the conversation about IoT security away from substance and towards hysteria. Rob was able to obtain the Mirai source code (via Github!) and unleashes it during his presentation on a stack of Raspberry Pis he dubs a “botnet in a box.” In doing so, he demystifies the security threat, showing exactly how the botnet attack works in a way that the sensationalist press wouldn’t dare.

At the end of his presentation, Rob lists ten simple actions we can all take to ward off these sorts of attacks, including deleting default accounts, disabling superfluous services, encrypting communications, disabling physical ports, and running services with the lowest account permissions possible. If you want the rest of the list, you’ll just have to watch the video below. We feel lucky to have somebody with Rob’s background in ethical hacking, cybersecurity, and IoT development on our team, and we’re thrilled to be able to share his pragmatic wisdom with the rest of the world. Check out Rob’s talk to a room full of Los Angeles IoT app developers below:

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